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Posts Tagged ‘Muslim’

CBC’S Zulekha Nathoo Reports on Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Impact

Saturday, April 7, 2012 @ 12:04 AM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

With Little Mosque on the Prairie having  drawn to a close this past week, media coverage was  quite prominent for the groundbreaking Canadian series. Among the  features done for the show, was one by reporter Zulekha Nathoo from the CBC. Nathoo’s recent report on the show which examined the national impact and international impact which Little Mosque had on Muslim perception from the perspective  of viewers, researchers, cast members  and crew members was featured on  CBC’s,The National on Sunday, April 1@ 9:00pm eastern time.

To see the feature on the series which includes myself discussing my perspective on the show  visit @

.Afterwards, share your thoughts on the segment in the comments section!

Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Arlene Duncan Talks About The Series Wrap Up

Monday, April 2, 2012 @ 04:04 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

Its been sometime since we last connected with Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Arlene Duncan, who  has  portayed  the role  of the vibrant  and independant cafe owner, Fatema Dinssah.With the groundbreaking and daring yet highly comedic series drawing to an end tonight on CBC, its a suitable time to touch base  with the actress to discuss  her response to the conclusion and to ask  her to reflect on some of her experiences over the course of its six seasons.

 Read through  my complete interview with the delightful actress below and be sure to tune in for the series finale of Little Mosque on the Prairie @ 8:30pm eastern standard time.

Abbas Karimjee: Since we last connected, it was announced that Little Mosque

will end in its current season.This season marks Little Mosque’s

final chapter. What was your reaction when you discovered this

and what are your thoughts on the degree to which it is suitable for the show 

to end this year?

Arlene Duncan:It has been both an honor and a pleasure to be part of such a unique

and ground-breaking show for six seasons. Currently we are

viewed in over 90 countries around the world. Although the show

went through many changes in its six seasons, I’m happy to have

seen my character make it from the first shooting day to the end!

Obviously after this amount of time working with the same cast

and crew there was sadness when we learnt that the show would be

coming to an end. Actually we thought we would be ending after

the 5th season but when we heard we would be coming back again

for a 6th season it was an unexpected bonus!

The cast of Little Mosque share a toast as production for the show wraps[June 2011 in Toronto

AK: Could you please give us an idea as to the atmosphere which was present on the set throughout the final weeks on the show?

AD:The atmosphere shooting the final season was very bittersweet: all

good things must come to an end, it wasn’t a complete shock or a

surprise, and we were all prepared to go out with a bang. Still, after

an investment of six seasons into these wonderful characters, just

like our audiences around the world, we’ve become attached to

them. It’s hard to say goodbye and let go of both the relationships

and what they mean to us, fortunately they’ll continue to live on in

reruns and DVDs around the world! After we shot our final scene

together as a group, we all very un-Islamically opened a bottle of

champagne and toasted to our success—those who partake,


AK: What is the final season all leading up to? Could you please give

us an idea of what in store for the series finale itself, both for

Fatima and the show in general?

AD:By the time this is posted the season finale may have already aired,

but still I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone. However, I

can say I think the ending should be a satisfying way to show the

journey of this community of Muslims and the people of Mercy to

the loyal viewers who have followed us from the beginning.

When the final credits roll, one can still imagine that life in Mercy and the lives of these characters will continue to go on: Rayaan &

Amaar’s life as a married couple, Sarah’s adventures in her new

role as a single woman, embracing her faith, Baber continuing to

rant, Fred spouting off on the radio, and Fatima dishing out goat

curry and wisecracks at the café.

AK: You have played Fatima for the show’s six seasons. Could you

please reflect on some of your most favorite moments on the show,

both on screen and in production? Reflecting on your six years

from working to the show, what aspect of working on the show,

will you miss the most?

AD:Although we did the majority of our shooting in Toronto (the

interiors were shot in a studio and the vicinity) and the exteriors in

Saskatchewan, we considered ourselves a Canadian show

representing the multicultural Canadian experience. What I’ll miss

most, besides having a steady gig for six seasons, and working

with our fantastic cast & crew, are the trips to Saskatchewan every

year to shoot exterior scenes. Our‘paid vacation time’ or ‘acting

camp’ as it was affectionately called was a fun-filled bonding

experience where we got to connect with each other as a cast & as

friends, as well as make friends within the Saskatchewan

community. These trips also helped me to ground my character in

the experience of what life would really be like as a Nigerian

immigrant in a small Saskatchewan town.

AK:You were recently involved in a musical theatre which made its

debut on January 23. Could you please indicate the

title of the project, where it was held,the storyline of the show and

other relevant details?

AD:Since the show finished shooting I have gone on to perform some

very different roles from Fatima in various films & television

shows, but I was most excited to get back to my roots in musical

theatre and play the lead role in the Tony-Award winning play

Caroline or Change. Set in 1963, Caroline Thibodeaux is a maid to

a Southern Jewish family who does what she must to provide for

children while struggling to keep her sense of self, while the son of

her employer struggles to make sense of the world around him. It

has been quite a while since I’d been ‘on the boards’ performing

live on stage night after night.

AK: How does working on a  theatre production differ from working

on studio sets such as Little Mosque? Which type of acting do you


Playing eight shows a week takes a

very different discipline from working in television. There are no

re-takes in theatre and the objective is to give the audience an

‘opening night’ performance every night. I’m very happy to say

that thankfully our show was well received with a sell-out run. I’m

actually looking forward to getting back on the stage again!

AK:With Little Mosque ending, how do you hope Fatema will be remembered as and  what final message do you have for viewers of the show?

With the luxury of six seasons on LMOTP I’ve learnt a great deal as

a performer, grown as an actor and a person and I’m sure to carry

all that I’ve learnt into my future roles. I’m very grateful that

audiences have embraced the character of Fatima Dinssa as their

friend, a sister, or a neighbour and I hope that her legacy will be

similar to that of LMOP: to show that in spite of our outward and

cultural differences at heart we are all the same…and that most

problems can be resolved with some good food!

A Day In The Life of Little Mosque On The Prairie!

Sunday, June 5, 2011 @ 09:06 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

With Little Mosque on the Prairie currently  filming in its   sixth and final season, the cast   of the show are actively  involved in the production.  Viewers of the show now have the chance to take a glimpse into  a day on the sets of Little Mosque  on the Prairie with the show’s Debra McGrath [  Mayor Ann Popwicx]

Visit  McGrath’s blog    to see the clip which covers  segments of  the actress’ experience on a typical day on set. The  7  minute  clip  also features  the show’s Sitara Hewitt[ Rayyan Hamoudi],  Sheila McCarth[ Sarah Hamoudi]  and Neil Crone[ Fred Tupper] as well as other various   cast and crew members.

On the blog, McGrath also   announced that Little Mosque would return to CBC this fall. We will have further details on Little Mosque’s sixth season  within the coming weeks.

What are your thoughts on the video and what is your reaction to Little Mosque ending  upon the conclusion of its upcoming sixth season? Drop us a line in the comments section,  below.

Interview With Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Brandon Firla

Friday, March 18, 2011 @ 09:03 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

Actor,Brandon Firla has been leading an exemplary  career as a comedian and an actor  within the Canadian entertainment industry.With the actor’s previous comedic experience  in the hit sitcom, Billable Hours,Brandon has been able to utilize his extensive experience for the past two seasons in CBC’s hit sitcom ,Little Mosque on the Prairie, as the conniving,manipulative and judgemental  character of Reverend William Thorne.

With Brandon being kind enough to participate in a interview with us and the development of Thorne having been a central aspect of the current fifth season of Little Mosque on the Prairie, we took the opportunity to discuss the actor’s response to the negative fan  reaction towards his character, how he prepared for the unique role of Thorne, the actor’s favourite moments for the character of Thorne in the current, fifth season and more.

1. When the character of Thorne was initially introduced in the fourth season of Little Mosque on the Prairie, there was a great deal of negative fan reception towards the character.What was your response to the fan criticism and how do you think the response has changed, given Thorne’s recent developments over the course of the current fifth season?

When I accepted the role, I knew I was going to make fans of the show unhappy. Not only was I replacing one of the most beloved characters, but I was also serving up a fairly negative representation of Christianity.

I was happy that people were passionate enough about the show to get angry over changes that were made. I think it’s rare for a Canadian audience to get riled up at a TV show unless it’s Hockey Night in Canada. I took none of the criticism personally, or at least that’s my therapist told me to do.

I’m not sure how the response has changed. I think Canadians might be warming up to him a bit now, but I don’t want them to fully trust him. They should think that something sinister still lurks behind that warm smile. Much like Stephen Harper.

2. Given your secular upbringing, what resources did you use to help prepare yourself for the role of Thorne?

When preparing to play a priest, there’s really only one book you need. No, it’s not the Bible. It’s “Christianity for Dummiez”. The Bible is a bit too dense for my limited comprehension. I also started attending Anglican services around Toronto and tried to blend in as best I could. For inspiration, I also like to think of who my character reminds me of in the real world, and somewhat model the character around that person. For Thorne I thought of the most bigoted, unapologetic asshole I could think of: Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly.

Also, with Thorne being rather un-Christian for most of last season, I would ask myself: “What Would Jesus Do?”, and then do the opposite.

3. This season Thorne has come to the realization that Mercy is his long-term home and has begun to develop various relationships in the community, including a friendship with Ammar and a romantic relationship with Rose. What has been the most challenging aspect of portraying the character of Thorne this season and how have you coped with this challenge?

Playing Thorne this season was a bit of a balancing act.  We were trying to open him up as a more 3 dimensional character this season, showing him falling in love, making friends, redeeming himself, etc, but I wanted to retain some of the bitterness that is truly at the core of his being. I see him as a tragic character really, because in the end, he’s the one who has to go through life as Thorne. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

4. Could you please share some of your favourite moments from the current season, in terms of Thorne‘s development  in  his relationship with  Ammar,Rose and others in the community.

This season was great because we got to see so many different colors of Thorniness. My only regret about last season’s Thorne was that his actions became predictable after the first few episodes. We knew that he was going to do and say the worst things possible, so we were always a couple steps ahead of him as an audience. But this season actually let Throne be unpredictable. I think one of my favorite moments was when he learns how much fun being honest can be, but goes too far in honestly telling Sarah how awful a Bridge player she is. It showed his utter lack of self-awareness. I also enjoyed the competition with Magee leading up to the wedding.

5.Could you please give us a brief idea as to  some of the challenges and  surprises which are store for Thorne towards  the end of the  current fifth season, particularly given Ammar and Rayyan’s wedding as well as the  awaited  return of Reverend McGee?

I won’t reveal much, but I will tell you that Thorne converts to Islam, takes over the Mosque for Amaar and retitles the show “Big Thorne on the Prairie.” And it’s revealed that McGee is actually an Extraterrestrial lifeform and is sent back to his home planet Zarbax 5 in the Omega Quadrant. The final laser battle kicks ass.

6.What message, would you like to convey to viewers of the series?

Well, as an actor, I try to refrain from conveying any messages to viewers. That’s not really the job of the actor. I think that’s more in the arena of the writers and producers if anyone. For me, it’s really important to remain objective and not judge the character I’m playing or anything he says or does, and just commit fully to his objective in any given scene. The last thing going through my head is what the audience might be thinking or what I might want them to think or what message I’m trying to send them. It’s really up to the audience to interpret whatever message they want out of any program they’re watching. That said, since Mosque is a comedy series, the one thing I’d like to convey is laughter.

Interview With Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Debra McGrath

Thursday, March 17, 2011 @ 07:03 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]
Actress, Debra McGrath  has been sharing her talent   in the Canadian entertainment industry for years, having  appeared in various television series such as This Is Wonderland, Burnt Toast, Paradise Falls as well as animated series such as George Shrinks, Babar, and Little Bear.Additionally,Debra has  appeared in various film productions The Real Blonde, Termini Station, One Magic Christmas and Expecting.In addition to her official credits, Debra’s sketch group, Women Fully Clothed  undertook a national tour and even appeared  at the Edinburgh festival.

Debra has now  been  starring in CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie  as the quirky, sarcastic  character of  Mayor Ann Popopwicx. With Little Mosque on the Prairie only a season away from  its series finale and Debra being kind enough to participate in a interview with us, we took the opportunity to reflect on how the actress’ came to be apart of the show’s ensemble cast, the aspirations she has for the character of Mayor  Popowicx before the series draws to a close,  how she thinks Little Mosque on the  Prairie represents Canadian culture ,other acting projects which the actress has  recently been involved in as well as much more.

1.Lets discuss your initial appointment to the role of Mayor  Ann.Were you contacted for the role or did you first audition for it? Could you please walk us through this initial process?

I was contacted and offered the role. I hesitated because it was being shot (at that time) in Regina and I was worried about it becoming a series. My son was in high school and I didn’t want to work out of town. But my agent said “go for the pilot at least”.
2.What has been the most challenging aspect of playing Mayor Ann and how have you coped with this challenge
I guess the most challenging thing for me is learning the lines. The mayor is often drunk! :-)

3.How do you relate to the character of Mayor Popowitcz?

I relate to the fun she is always having. If it isn’t fun for the mayor, she is not interested.

4.The role of Mayor Popowitcz was your first role as a political leader.What  preparation did you undertake in order to  play the role?

I didn’t really because I knew it would not involve political knowledge. Does the mayor even have political savvy? I did go to the Mayor’s office in Regina and meet he and his staff. The Mayor loves the chain of office and wants earrings to match.

5.As an experienced Canadian actress, you have also been involved in animated productions of various TV series including, Little Bear, Franklin, Babar and George Shrinks. Which type of acting do you  prefer to work in and what  particular  benefits  are  associated with your selection?

I like well run shows like Mosque because they are so well scheduled that you rarely wait around. It is the waiting to act that makes me crazy. I hate it. I want to get there, work, have some laughs, eat some craft table food and go home. But yes I do love animation and voice work period. You don’t have to worry if you look good, you just lend your voice. Stage work is wonderful too but I have voice issues so it is stressful for me. But when I have a good voice night, so rewarding.

6.With Little Mosque on the Prairie approaching its sixth and final season,what aspirations do you have for the character of Mayor both in terms of the character’s relationships within the community of Mercy and as a political leader?

I would love to see the mayor have an upset. Fall in love and abdicate (I guess you can only do that if you are Queen) I would love to see her resign for love or be involved in a huge scandal and have to resign or take off with Sarah on a Thelma and Louise adventure.

7.Little Mosque has been  such a  successful series both internationally  as well as in Canada, with the series   premiere having earned    2.1 million viewers. What impact do you think the series has had on Canadian culture and  how do you think the series represents Canada, given how it is the first of its kind?

I will always be proud of the fact that Canada was first in doing a show like this, dealing with this subject matter. It put an every day human face on a wonderful and sometimes misunderstood community. I have learned so much from my involvement with this show on the beauty of this culture and the fact that our differences are not really that different. We are all just people, trying to raise our families and get through the day with love and hope.

8.What  has been your  overall experience as a  role model and what are the various ways in which you have interacted with fans? Why do you think the character  of Mayor Popowitcz is so influential?

Thanks for saying I am a role model but other than my son and maybe our dogs, I don’t think that’s the case. At least I would hope not. The Mayor should not be a role model unless some young person wants to go into politics, do nothing, spend money that isn’t theirs, drink too much and break the rules…Okay I guess I am a role model because I have just described most politicians.I think people like the Mayor because she is funny and I am not tooting my own horn here. She is funny because she is written that way. The writers get all the credit. I just deliver the fun.

9.Have you recently been involved in any other acting projects, which you would like to share with viewers?

I would. Thanks for asking. I am in a new show coming out on Showcase called “Single White Spenny” I co-star with Spencer Rice of “Kenny vs Spenny” fame. It is a half hour comedy loosly based on Spenny’s life.

10. With Little Mosque on the Prairie concluding its run in its impending sixth season, what message would you like to convey to viewers of the series?

Our viewers are so loyal and I have met many of them over the years which has always been one of my favourite things about being on the show. So thanks everyone for standing behind this brave little Canadian show!

11. What activities do you enjoy during your spare time?

I love to ice skate, work out, read, play with my dogs, travel, spend time with my husband and son, go to theatre, movies, tv. I love to watch the birds, stare at the moon, laugh and eat. I love life really. Every single silly second of it.

Little Mosque on the Prairie Season 5 Episode 11- The Bachelor Party

Sunday, March 13, 2011 @ 09:03 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

Take a read through  CBC’s official excerpt of  this week’s  new episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie.

The Bachelor Party

Rev. Thorne is jealous when Rev. Magee throws a bachelor party for Amaar. Determined not to be outdone by his Anglican nemesis, Thorne organizes a paintball party to settle the score with Magee on the battlefield. Meanwhile, Sarah comes to the rescue after Rayyan gets locked out of her bachelorette party sans hijab and gets stranded on the edge of town[ CBC]

Tune in on Monday, ,March 14 2011 @ 8:00pm eastern standard time.

Which part of the episode  are you the most excited for? What  is your reaction to Magee’s return and what are your speculations on  the outcome of  Thorne’s relationship with Magee? What other speculations on the storylines of the episode do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments section , below.

Little Mosque on the Prairie -Episode 508 – Every Thorne Has Its Rose

Monday, February 21, 2011 @ 04:02 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

When Thorne starts acting oddly, Rayyan is convinced he’s up to no good and follows him. She discovers a newly tongue-tied Thorne has fallen for Mercy’s quirky librarian, Rose. Rayyan tries to bring the couple together — despite Amaar’s pleas to avoid meddling – and nearly torpedoes the awkwardly blossoming relationship. Meanwhile, Sarah and Fatima’s friendship is tested when Fatima hires Sarah to do renovations in the café.[ CBC]

 Airing tonight on CBC @8:00pm eastern standard time

What are you the most excited for in this episode and what speculations do you have for the  various storylines which will be presented in the episode?Drop us a line in the comments section of the post.

Interview With Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Aliza Vellani

Monday, February 21, 2011 @ 03:02 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

Actress, Aliza Vellani has been leading a  distinguished career.Having had extensive experience in the arts through acting,dancing, improv and singing, Aliza first brought her talents and experience  to the entertainment industry in CBC’s  Little Mosque on the Prairie as  the  teenage character  of Layla Siddiqui.

With Aliza being kind enough to participate in a interview with us and  Layla’s return to Little Mosque on the Prairie  fast approaching we decided to  discuss how Aliza relates to the character, the challenges of playing Layla, the actress’ experience as a  role model , Aliza’s plans  for the future and much more!

1.Your parents immigrated to Vancouver, Canada from Tanga, Tanzania in East Africa. How do you relate to the character of Layla, especially given your family’s ethnic background?

When I first started the show, I was a typical 14-year-old teenager facing challenges with parents who were raised in an Indo East African culture.  In addition, there was the generation gap and some peer pressure.  In these respects, I related to Layla.   However, my parents are more liberal than Layla’s father Baber.   As I have gotten older, I have gotten closer with my parents in terms of communicating, understanding and accepting our differences.  As a matter of fact, when I look back into my teenage years, I can laugh at some of our events as they were just as comical as Layla’s.

2.What has been the most challenging aspect of playing the role of Layla and how have you coped with this challenge?

Layla faces many challenges in her life, and sometimes has to compromise her wants for values instilled by her dad. As I connected with the character personally, I appreciated the extent of her compromises.  Like any teenager she rebelled and tried tricking her dad to have her way.  In the end she made the right choices.  Layla is a great role model and a fun character.  I love playing her.

3. How do you think Layla has developed over the course of the series and how would you like to see her further develop?

She has certainly matured.  I would like to see her develop with a personality shaped by her own cheerful charm and individuality.  It would be wonderful to see how she interacts in her new environment at the university without her father constantly reminding her to behave according to his expectations.  I expect she will balance her life with the basic good values instilled by her father and community.

4.Could you please give us an idea as to the some of the challenges and surprises that are in store for Layla this season on Little Mosque on the Prairie?

This season Layla has returned from her first year at University.  Her personality has matured.  She is more confident of herself and yet retains that same mischievous charm we love.

5.How many episodes will you appear as Layla this season and in which episode can viewers expect to see you first reprise in the role?

I appear in the last two episodes this season. I am not too sure how much I can reveal about these episodes so lets say you will see Layla’s fun side.

6.Do you experience pressure as a role model, as a result of playing your character and why do you think the character of Layla is so influential?

The one major way Layla and I differ is how strict or conservative our respective cultures are. Layla is good role model and even inspires me to be a role model for others. Layla is a strong, confident character who, like any teenager, just wants to fit in.  While Layla is influenced by friends and peer pressure, she manages to stay true to who she is.  Layla shows us how to balance between two very different cultures and this has taught me to be a more confident role model as well.

7. What impact do you think Little Mosque on the Prairie has had on Canadian culture and why do you think the series has been such a worldwide success?

Little Mosque is a show that has proved that laughing about controversial matters is effective to both entertain and educate us about relevant issues in our community.  I think the comical approach to understanding both the Islamic community and ourselves, within the bigger community, makes the show both thought provoking and entertaining to audiences worldwide.

8.What message would you like to convey to viewers of the series?

Thank you for all the support you have given Little Mosque over the years. For me, it has been a wonderful feeling knowing that people are enjoying something I put my heart into.   I am very grateful for this entire experience.  Once again, Thank you all very much for your support and encouragement! J

9. Are there any other acting projects you have been working on which you would like to share with the viewers?

For the time being, I have committed my time to University.  I do audition and plan on pursuing a career in acting.  I would ask the viewers to keep on the lookout in the upcoming future; I’m still in the game! J

10.What activities do you enjoy during your spare time?

I have many hobbies and interests.  Like my mom, I have a very keen interest in the arts and have enjoyed many activities such as dancing, singing, painting/sketching, and even writing my own stories. If I had more time I would love to advance my Tae Kwan Do training and even learn to play the guitar.  Above all, I enjoy spending time with my friends: watching movies, bowling, girl’s night out, and other fun stuff.  Sadly there aren’t enough hours in the day so I try to do these things when I can squeeze the time.

Little Mosque on the Prairie’s Zaib Shaikh Appears on The George Stroumboulopoulos Show

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 @ 06:02 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

Indeed, Little Mosque on the Prairie’s  lead actor, Zaib Shaikh appeared for an interview on  CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos  show on Thursday, January 28 2011. In the  interview, Shaikh  discussed the legitimacy of Katie Couric’s recent comments on how the USA needs  a series similar to Little Mosque, on the influence which Little Mosque on the Prairie has had  on Canadian culture   and the actor’s current vision on his post Little Mosque on the Prairie career.

Take a  view, at a brief 2 minute segment of the interview, below. For  a complete viewing of the interview, head over to


What are your thoughts on the interview? Do you agree with Shaikh’s  perspective?How do you relate to some of his experiences and viewpoints? What did you find the most interesting?Sound off in the comments  section!

Little Mosque on the Prairie Season 5 Premiere

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 @ 08:12 PM
Abbas Karimjee[ Administrator/ Owner]

 Indeed Little Mosque on the Prairie returns with  the official start to the fifth season , on Monday, January 3 at 8:00pm eastern standard time.

To get a  sense of what awaits viewers in the season premiere, take a read through CBC’s official description below and  the network’s official trailer for  the new seasons of its winter programs, for a peak at what is in store.

Amaar searches for the perfect way to propose to Rayyan after getting Yasir’s permission to marry his daughter. Sarah volunteers to help but soon what is supposed to be the most magical night ever becomes a series of comic misfires. Meanwhile, when Thorne finds the town has turned on him after his bad behaviour toward the Muslims, he tries to find a new way to fit in.”



 What are your thoughts on the  description and trailer?How do you  think the  upcoming storylines which were highlighted, will  play out?Which storyline are you the most excited to  see explored?